Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Myth: You can tell a watermelon is ripe by thumping on it.

Answer: BUSTED!

Thumping a watermelon is not a reliable indicator of fruit maturity. This is done by thumping the top of the melon. If the melon has a dull thud when thumped, it is very possible the melon is ripe. However, not all melons will give off a dull thud when ripe. For some watermelons, a dull thud may indicate an over-ripe melon.

The best indicator for ripeness for a watermelon is the change in color of the underside of the melon where it comes into contact with the ground. If this ground spot is yellow or a cream-yellow color, the melon is ripe.

watermelons in field
Watermelons with brown, withered tendrils
A second indicator for ripeness is the tendrils on the watermelon stem should look brown and withered. The presence of a dead tendril helps to indicate ripeness.

Another indicator for ripeness is the skin color of the watermelon changes from shiny to dull. The skin will also be resistant to penetration by the thumbnail and will be rough to the touch.

Lastly, look for a melon that is nice looking, meaning free of dents, bruises and cuts. Select a heavy melon. Watermelons are made up of mostly water, so an ideal melon should be heavy for its size.

To learn about the nutritious benefits of eating watermelon, check out

Contributor: Maude Harris, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, University of Missouri Extension,, 573.545.3516

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